Lawyers Have to Set Out a Comprehensive Discovery
Video Transcribed: As a lawyer, what should you do to discover hidden assets in a divorce? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and that’s the question that we have submitted through our online Facebook group, legal questions answered in the state of Oklahoma.
The question’s actually, “What if the spouse was hiding assets through their marriage in different names, not in his name, or he had his own company to buy houses, boats, and apartments, under a company name? As a lawyer, what should you do to discover the hidden assets?”
All right, well, as a lawyer, obviously we represent the interest of our client and there’s countervailing interest that must be balanced here. There are a lot of things that can be done to go after potentially hidden assets, but there’s time and cost associated with that. So it comes down to, is there a reason to put in those times and assets?
And that’s where we talk to our clients, find out what assets they know about, and what concerns they may have about other additional assets, and then come up and formulate a plan to see if that is in fact the case. Various different research things can be done, discovery can be done, and subpoenas can be sent to the parties. We can do depositions, we can do interrogatories, and requests for admissions.
So as far as what can the lawyer do, the main thing that I want to tell you is that every lawyer should set out a comprehensive discovery to get at least responses from the opposing party. That way, even if we don’t find out hidden assets, if there are assets that they have hidden, we’re going to require them to at least answer as to that so that we have false statements at the very least. We need to make it so they either have to disclose all of the assets or they have to lie to us directly under oath in discovery responses for us not to know about those.
That way, if the case is done without us having to find out about those things we find out later, we potentially have grounds to get that order vacated on the basis of fraud perpetrated by the other party. So that’s the simple thing that can be done in order to protect yourself. Beyond that, there are lots of things that can be done to look for additional assets hidden out there, but there are costs and time associated with that.
So we have to look at, what is the chance that those do exist, and what’s it going to take to go after them and find them? And then we make a decision with our client, how much do we want to invest into looking for those things? And that’s going to be based on the information our client has.
So hopefully that answers your question about discovery, finding hidden assets for divorce, and division because even if these things were under your spouse’s name if they were accumulated during the marriage through work done during the marriage, that’s going to be a marital asset. You’re going to be entitled to an equitable share of that. So you’re going to want to know about all of the assets.
If you’re dealing with this circumstance, you’re not going to want just information from the video. You’re going to want specific information about your circumstances. To get that through a consultation with an Oklahoma divorce lawyer at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.